2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

News and Information related to Distracted Driving
brian
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2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:45 pm

As we start off the New Year we are starting a new thread on the cell phone/texting problem. (Be sure to also see the previous McHenry Software forum topics with many links/references: STOP Cell phone use while driving and "Intexticated" drivers)

Bills to Curb Distracted Driving Gain Momentum
January 2, 2010,New York Times, MATT RICHTEL,
Lawmakers across the US have already proposed hundreds of bills to curb distracted driving. Policy analysts expect to see dozens more in the coming months. "It’s the hottest safety issue in the states right now by far,” said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies. The flurry of state activity — coupled with intensifying action by federal legislators and regulators, and by the cellphone and auto industries — is putting renewed focus on the risks of using phones behind the wheel, according to policy analysts.
Much of the lobbying and legislative momentum has focused on texting bans, and policy analysts said there was less consensus but intensifying debate about what to do about driving while talking on the phone; studies show such motorists face a four times greater crash risk.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who in October called distracted driving a “deadly epidemic,” said reform must not end with the demonization of texting. In Congressional hearings, he said that talking on the phone, even when using a hands-free device, poses a cognitive distraction risk that should not be ignored. “I’m on a rampage about this, and I’m not going to let up,” Mr. LaHood said of the broader issue of distracted driving. He said that he believed the goal should be to persuade people to shut down their devices or lock them in the glove compartment when they get behind the wheel.
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brian
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:06 am

COMMENT: 25 Million for a NEW 5 year study on cell phone cancer?? Didn't we already have the cell phone cancer risk scare 10-15 years ago? and it was found out to be bogus (I recall it was found related to lifestyle of cell phone addicts and no rise in incidence of cancer). Also, shouldn't there be Epidemiology studies out there which demonstrate a direct correlation of some exponential rise in brain cancer due to the exponential rise in cell phone use? Now where is THAT study.
From the National Cancer Institute information page on Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk "Studies have not shown any consistent link between cellular telephone use and cancer, but scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn"
I guess it's all about feelings (i should insert a sound clip of that 70's song 'feelings' here!) Here's info on the new study:

Cell phone safety studied
Jan 2, 2010: News & Observer, JOHN MURAWSKI
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK -- John Bucher, a reserved scientist who will play a key role in the public debate over the health risks posed by cell phones, doesn't like to discuss his own calling habits. His reticence is understandable: The 5-year, $25 million health study is meant to settle the question of whether long-term exposure to radiation from cell phones can cause cancers. The study overseen by Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program in Research Triangle Park, is the U.S. government's response to rising concerns about the ubiquitous phones.
More than 100 studies have been devoted to the subject of cell phone safety worldwide, but the results have been "all over the map," Bucher said. Nonetheless, he would like to believe the comprehensive U.S. study will carry sufficient authority to settle the long-simmering dispute.
What will set this study apart is its size and length. The rats and mice will be bombarded with low-level radiation in utero and then throughout their lives. They will be exposed to 20 hours a day in specially designed chambers that will distribute the frequencies uniformly.
The study will assess the animals' blood, bone marrow, sperm and brain cell DNA, among other physiological measures.
The National Toxicology Program research is funded by federal money, not by contributions from the cell phone industry, Bucher said.
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brian
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:57 pm

Ore. phone ban has loophole, challenges expected(link no longer active)
Jan 4, 2010: By BRAD CAIN , Associated Press Writer
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The new Oregon cell-phone law may be a problem to enforce because it exempts motorists who are on their hand-held cell phones "in the scope of the person's employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person's job." The exemption was intended for taxi drivers, delivery trucks, tow trucks and the like.
Also see the McHenry Software Forum topic Police can't examine contents of a suspects cell phone? for some other problems which may face enforcement of the new cell phone laws.
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brian
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:15 am

Cell-phone use linked to wrecks
Jan 13, 2010: News&Observer, by Bruce Siceloff: Drivers distracted by cell-phone talking and texting cause 28 percent of traffic accidents, the National Safety Council said in a study released Tuesday.
Safety advocates cited the new estimates as they introduced a national organization, patterned after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to fight phone use while driving. The nonprofit group FocusDriven will be led by people whose parents, children or other relatives were killed by drivers using cell phones.
Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation secretary, said he would help members of FocusDriven and other safety advocates push for a ban on cell-phone use while driving."We're on a rampage about this," LaHood told reporters.
See the Full Story
From NHTSA site: Jan. 12. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Safety Council President Janet Froetscher announced the creation of FocusDriven, the first national nonprofit organization devoted specifically to raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The group is led by Jennifer Smith, who has been an outspoken advocate against distracted driving since her mother was killed by someone talking on his cell phone while driving in 2008. FocusDriven is a direct outgrowth of the September 2009 national Distracted Driving Summit in Washington called by Secretary LaHood. “I first met several of the founding members of FocusDriven at our Distracted Driving Summit, and I’m deeply impressed by their commitment to turn these tragic events into positive actions that will help save lives,” said LaHood. “Their stories are not just heartbreaking; they’re also a clear and compelling call to action.”
Here is the NHTSA News Release, the Distaction.gov site and a link to the new group FocusDriven
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brian
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:17 pm

DOT 14-10
January 26, 2010 Contact: USDOT Public Affairs Tel: 202-366-4570
From the Public Service Announcement:U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers
U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.
“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”
The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit."
FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.
During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the risks posed by distracted driving. President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.
The regulatory guidance on today’s announcement will be on public display in the Federal Register January 26 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on January
27.
The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving http://www.distraction.gov.
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by MSI » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:11 am

Jan 29, 2010: A new insurance industry study by the Highway Loss Data Institute ((HLDI) which is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also an insurance industry organization) has found that state laws banning the use of handheld devices to make calls or send text messages while driving have not resulted in fewer vehicle crashes.
Laws banning cellphone use while driving fail to reduce crashes, new insurance data indicate
ARLINGTON, VA — As state legislators across the United States enact laws that ban phoning and/or texting while driving, a new Highway Loss Data Institute study finds no reductions in crashes after hand-held phone bans take effect. Comparing insurance claims for crash damage in 4 US jurisdictions before and after such bans, the researchers find steady claim rates compared with nearby jurisdictions without such bans. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
HLDI researchers calculated monthly collision claims per 100 insured vehicle years (a vehicle year is 1 car insured for 1 year, 2 insured for 6 months each, etc.) for vehicles up to 3 years old during the months immediately before and after hand-held phone use was banned while driving in New York (Nov. 2001), the District of Columbia (July 2004), Connecticut (Oct. 2005), and California (July 2008). Comparable data were collected for nearby jurisdictions without such bans. This method controlled for possible changes in collision claim rates unrelated to the bans — changes in the number of miles driven due to the economy, seasonal changes in driving patterns, etc.
Month-to-month fluctuations in rates of collision claims in jurisdictions with bans didn't change from before to after the laws were enacted. Nor did the patterns change in comparison with trends in jurisdictions that didn't have such laws.
"The laws aren't reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," says Adrian Lund, president of both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and HLDI. For example, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study that relies on driver phone records found a 4-fold increase in the risk of injury crashes. A study in Canada found a 4-fold increase in the risk of crashes involving property damage. Separate surveys of driver behavior before and after hand-held phone use bans show reductions in the use of such phones while driving.
Lund points to factors that might be eroding the effects of hand-held phone bans on crashes. One is that drivers in jurisdictions with such bans may be switching to hands-free phones because no US state currently bans all drivers from using such phones. In this case crashes wouldn't go down because the risk is about the same, regardless of whether the phones are hand-held or hands-free. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia do prohibit beginning drivers from using any type of phone, including hands-free, but such laws are difficult to enforce. This was the finding in North Carolina, where teenage drivers didn't curtail phone use in response to a ban, in part because they didn't think the law was being enforced.
"Whatever the reason, the key finding is that crashes aren't going down where hand-held phone use has been banned," Lund points out. "This finding doesn't auger well for any safety payoff from all the new laws that ban phone use and texting while driving."
Also see the Associated Press article : Study: Distracted driving laws don't stop crashes
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by MSI » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:22 pm

Feb 22, 2010: from NHTSA.gov site:
New Sample Bill will Aid States in Banning Texting While Driving
Sample Bill Supported by Auto and Wireless Industries and the Safety Community
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today unveiled sample legislation to be used as a starting point for states crafting new laws to prohibit texting while behind-the-wheel, the latest step in the campaign against distracted driving. The sample state law, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a cross-section of safety and industry organizations, would authorize law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving. "Texting while driving, like talking on cell phones while driving, is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening practice," said Secretary LaHood. “This language, which we created with a variety of safety organizations, is another powerful tool in our arsenal to help the states combat this serious threat.”
There is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because texting combines three types of distraction – visual, taking the eyes off the road; manual, taking the hands off the wheel; and cognitive, taking the mind off the road.
According to NHTSA research, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. Research also shows that the most frequent offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers, men and women under 20 years of age.
"Our top priority is safety and we are determined to help the states eradicate the dangerous practice of texting while driving," said David Strickland, Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Currently, nineteen States and the District of Columbia have texting laws covering all drivers. In 2009, more than 200 distracted driving bills were considered by State legislatures and legislative activity is expected to remain strong in 2010.
See the sample bill and the groups that participated in drafting it.
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by MSI » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:31 pm

Mar 16, 2010: Wyoming bans text messaging by all drivers
Wyoming joins 19 other states in banning text messaging by all drivers, effective July 1, 2010.
Here's a map of current state laws from the IIHS.org site:
mar16txtbanmap.jpg
mar16txtbanmap.jpg (63.38 KiB) Viewed 8492 times
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brian
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by brian » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:06 am

Mar 31, 2010: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers
Can we all say AMEN! And lets hear a big 'Well Duhhhh'!
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a federal rule that proposes to specifically prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers. The proposed rule would make permanent an interim ban announced in January 2010 that applied existing safety rules to the specific issue of texting.
The Department also announced an unprecedented partnership with Cornell University to increase public involvement and collaboration in the rulemaking process. The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) partnership will make the federal regulatory process more accessible to the public through Regulation Room, an online public participation environment where people can learn about and discuss proposed federal regulations and provide effective feedback to the Department.
"This is good news on two fronts," said Secretary LaHood. "This rulemaking keeps our commitment to making our roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted driving. And our partnership with Cornell on the e-Rulemaking Initiative is an important step toward keeping President Obama's promise of opening government to more effective citizen participation."
Today’s proposed rule to ban texting by drivers of commercial vehicles and bus drivers is the first effort in this innovative partnership. Citizens can find more information on the Cornell online effort and provide comments on the proposed rule at regulationroom.org over the next 30 days. The Department of Transportation encourages participation in this rulemaking through Regulation Room, but the public may also submit comments to the DOT docket at regulation.gov.
FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.
Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.
"We are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “This rulemaking to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments on how together we can make our roads safer.”
The proposed rule will be on public display in the Federal Register March 31 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on April 1.
During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the other risks posed by distracted driving.
President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.
The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving at http://www.distraction.gov.
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Re: 2010: Stop cell phone use and texting while driving!

Post by MSI » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:48 am

April 1, 2010: Sacramento, CA: Fines for using handheld cellphones in a vehicle may turn in to a major revenue stream.
Today in the NY Times is was reported that what started as a quest for safer driving could soon turn into a new revenue stream worth tens of millions of dollars to state and local governments. A bill working its way through Sacramento could sharply increase the penalties for driving while using a handheld cellphone, fines that some say are already deceptively higher than had been expected.
The California Highway Patrol issued 137,056 cellphone citations in 2009. Analysts say counties and municipalities traditionally issue an equal number, bringing the total to nearly 275,000 — a possible $31 million collected.
See the full article A Cellphone Fine, Billed as Small, Is No Longer That
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